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Man's World|July 2021
The GLA, Mercedes-Benz’s baby SUV, is back in a new avatar. With improvements all around and a more assertive identity, it is expected to make a significant impact
Sameer Kumar

Launched in India two months ago, the new Mercedes-Benz GLA is a substantial move up from its predecessor. The original GLA was launched in 2014, followed by a facelift in 2017. The 2021 version of Mercedes- Benz’s smallest SUV is an all-new vehicle that moves away from the first generation hatchback-like design to a look that is closer to a proper SUV. It has the ‘presence’ that most SUV buyers would expect. While the new GLA is the same length, size, and width as its predecessor, it has a higher roof, increased ground clearance, and a wheelbase that is larger by 30 mm. All this has translated into more cabin space.

With its slinky, swoopy lines and lowish stance, the original GLA looked like a stylish hatchback-SUV crossover and had its admirers. The new vehicle wants to push away from any association with the word ‘hatchback’. It wants to be acknowledged as an SUV in an SUV crazy Indian market. And Mercedes designers have done an excellent job in accomplishing this goal.

There are three new engine options. The range starts with the GLA 200, which gets a 1.3-litre four-cylinder petrol engine that produces 163bhp and 250Nm of torque. Next up is the GLA 200d (also available with 4Matic four-wheel-drive), with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel, which makes 190bhp and 400Nm of torque. And finally, there’s the range-topping AMG GLA 35 4Matic, which is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-litre inline-four that kicks out 306bhp and makes 400Nm of torque. We got our hands on the GLA 220d 4Matic, which might well be the most popular amongst the GLA trio, given its near-perfect blend of performance and practicality.

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